Image courtesy of Bluecurse Studios Inc.

Snacko: Husband/wife duo fix a ruined island with sprightly cats and a MegaGrant

January 25, 2023
Truth be told, Bluecurse Studios' husband and wife duo couldn’t have created their wholesome farm sim game without their affectionate cats. They were the inspiration for the piece. Especially Momo and Mikan, two furry friends whose unique personalities are about to become immortalized in Snacko, an upcoming game that turns two “big city kitties” loose on a mysterious “deserted” island.
Image courtesy of Bluecurse Studios Inc.
Creative Director Erisa Liu and Lead Programmer Jordan Gonzalez have built a beautifully vibrant world to explore, drawing inspiration from classic games like Rune Factory and Harvest Moon. As of June 2020, 1,250 Kickstarter backers have invested in the vision of Erisa and Jordan’s first complete game.

Snacko’s colorful island mixes 3D-world aesthetics with 2D-character pixel art, filled with cuddly animals and activities aplenty. The game is a far cry from what they’ve developed in past mini-game jams and it’s uniquely different from what’s typically developed using Unreal Engine. Erisa credits the engine’s Blueprint visual scripting system for making it easy to prototype and iterate while in development. “It’s the path of least resistance to getting your idea into reality,” Jordan adds.
 

But while the duo knew they’d use Unreal Engine, there was some uncertainty around funding. Serendipity found the team midway through the development of Snacko, though, when Erisa and Jordan traveled to GDC 2018. They were there to do what most game developers do: attend panels, make new connections, and unearth any opportunities they can take advantage of. Little did they know, the Epic MegaGrants program was about to be announced.

But the minute they heard the news, they immediately went back to their hotel room to submit an application. A few months later, Erisa was screaming with excitement as she read the MegaGrants email one morning in bed—startling Jordan—when they got approved.
Image courtesy of Bluecurse Studios Inc.
This news couldn’t have come at a better time. While Bluecurse had some resources, they had also taken a huge leap, with Jordan leaving an established software job and Erisa deciding to forgo a classic studio path right out of school. Jordan’s parents were particularly skeptical about this plan. It was hard to understand why he left a secure job to go into game development. However, once they heard about the MegaGrant, they started to see this dream wasn’t so far-fetched.

Erisa and Jordan credit the Epic MegaGrant for being the stopgap between finding a publisher, and opening the door to their current deal with Armor Games Studios. Now, after years of development and bug squashing, Bluecurse Studios is in the home stretch. Soon, players will be able to step into the paws of Momo and Mikan on PC, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation, as they farm, fish, and rebuild. They’ll probably enjoy the fish the most.

If you want to learn more about the game, check out Erisa and Jordan’s dev blog at snacko.land today.

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